Spending less is like going on a diet. We rely on will power with out a method or system to reach our goals. And just like most diets we are doomed to failure.
Over time our debt starts to balloon and the only solution is a drastic change of spending habits. Unfortunately, just like crash dieting, the lasting effects of these changes only end in frustration and we eventually give up.
For most of us spending too much is not an illness but is a learned behaviour. The good new is this behaviour can be changed.
After more than 15 years in the financial industry
watching what works and what doesn’t, here are 5 proven strategies that work in every day life to spend less and have more control over your financial life.
Cut the Number of Financial Transactions
I know this might sound obvious but the more often you spend the more you spend. If you have more than one page of transactions on your monthly bank statement your spending is more than likely out of control.
If you pay your bills on line that should account for 4 or 6, pay for groceries and gas for your car once a week that should be 8 or 10 depending on the number of weeks in a month, and maybe 5 miscellaneous other purchases.
Including deposits from your work every two weeks you might have 25 – 30 transactions a month.
This can all fit on one page. Easy to manage and monitor.
To cut transactions further and to keep your spending down cash is the another way to keep spending down.
If you withdraw cash for gas for your car, groceries and weekly spending money you cut more transactions. Cash also has a way to help us all get in touch with money we spend. If you are like me it is very hard to break a 20 dollar bill for 1.86 coffee.
Don’t go to the Mall
Spending is more of habit for most of us. Why do think the local shopping mall is adding comfy chairs, televisions and special events to attract people to come and visit. The longer you stay the more likely your are to spend.
Brand name coffee shop have made the shopping mall into a destination rather than place to buy a new pair of jeans.
The key …. only go to the mall when you are going to buy some you need, and bring cash.
Leave your credit cards at home
Some what related to using cash s is to leave your credit cards at home. It is proven that we spend more using credit cards than cash.
Why is that? Human beings are pleasure seekers. Every time we spend using our credit cards we feel good. If you are like most you use your credit card 15 – 20 times a month. After all this spending you start to feel pretty good. The pain of credit card only comes once a month when we make our monthly payment.
A 15 to 1 pleasure to pain ratio make spending using your credit card a hard one to control.
Review Your Statements every Month
Take a hour a month and review your statement every month.
Since your bank statement is only a page it is easy to tell if your spending is in line. This monthly review also allows you to plan for the following month.
If your transactions start to grow, you can nip spending habit in the bud.
As you are planning for growing your net worth these 5 strategies are simple and they work. Controlling your spending is never easy, but it is the first step to improving your financial life.
If you have some ideas on what has worked for you make sure to leave your comments below.